Neurobiology of Vocal Communication

We want to know how the brain generates, perceives, and learns behavior. We use vocal communication as a model behavior. Emphasis is placed on the molecular pathways involved in the perception and production of learned vocalizations. We use an integrative approach that combines behavioral, anatomical, electrophysiological, and molecular biological techniques. The main animal model used is songbirds, one of the few vertebrate groups that evolved the ability to learn vocalizations. The overall goal of the research is to advance knowledge of the neural mechanisms for vocal learning and basic mechanisms of brain function.

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Evolution of Brain For Vocal Learning

Find out how we are using natural behavior and molecular biology to study the evolution of brain structures for vocal learning, and the latest exciting results.

Vocal Basal Ganglia

Read about how we study the role of basal ganglia in learned vocal communication.


Read about how we gather electrophysiology data from birds performing natural behaviors and how we integrate that data with gene expression and anatomy data.

Songbird Neurogenomics

Find out how we are using the latest genome research techniques to characterize the molecuar basis of the songbird vocal communication system.

Functional Bioinformatics

See how we are using functional network inference algorithms to integrate the multiple levels of organization in the songbird brain system.

Welcome to our new website (published April 2012). Important news and updates will be posted here.